January is fast approaching and the transfer window will soon open. Many players will be subject to rumours and speculation. And we all know Manchester United will be linked to enough players to fill Old Trafford and will keep gossip column writers in business for years to come.
In this article I am looking at players United should keep an eye on that are beyond the obvious names being banded around at the moment who United should look at in the summer, so no Eriksen/Haaland/Fernandes chat here.
Dan James has proved that United can find talent beyond the Premier League, so why not try to find another potential gem before every other big club. Normally the Top 6 teams will wait for a player to prove himself at another club before making a big money move (see James Maddison moving to Norwich to Leicester now is linked to a move to United, via Leicestershire Live).
United would benefit from buying players and moulding them into the players they want, QPR have given Eze his chance and he has taken it with both hands contributing 13 goals and assists to the team so far.
He has won rave reviews for his performances so far this season and Spurs were linked with a January move for him while Mauricio Pochettino was in charge before his dismissal, according to The Sun. He is a player that does need to be moulded but his unpredictability makes him worth the risk.
He can beat a man, has a good change of pace and also pick a pass which would help United in games where they have trouble opening up the opposition. Small in stature would be the obvious drawback but, in the Championship, where teams are more physical than the Premier League, he is able to glide past opponents but also take fouls and carry on without being affected.
A player who will certainly be playing Premier League football soon enough so United should look to steal a march on the other top clubs and snap him up before a bidding war in the summer starts.
Midfield has been a massive problem for United in the last few seasons, many have come and failed to make positions their own. United do need a screen for the back four and someone to defend and allow the creatives players the freedom to do what they do best.
Step forward Ibrahim Sangare, a midfielder who has all the physical tools needed to succeed at the top level. He is very similar in physique to Paul Pogba, so he is very good in holding on to the ball in tight spaces as well as in the air.
He is also very good on the ball with the ability to dribble past players an underrated attribute for a holding midfielder, good at interceptions and in the tackle means he will protect the backline and ease the burden on United’s defence. Another player who might just need some refining in his game but someone who could give United a solid foundation to build from.
Toulouse are not having the best of seasons so far and they currently sit in the relegation zone so while they will be desperate to hold on to one of their best players, if United wait a couple of months they could get a top quality player for a great price but other clubs will be thinking exactly the same.
Juventus signed the Turkish International from Sassuolo this summer, but he has had his playing time limited since joining the Old Lady. Behind Matthijs De Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci in the pecking order has only see him playing a handful of games, when he has played, he has looked impressive which makes his lack of playing time even more bizarre.
A tough physically imposing defender who loves defending would certainly improve a United defence that is vulnerable against teams lower in the table who look to try to bully certain United players. Demiral is also part of a new look Turkish team which might surprise a few people after their brilliant Euro 2020 qualification including taking 4 points off World Champions France.
Juventus may look to sell a few players either in January or the summer to trim their wage bill and also raise funds for future purchases to help them try to win the Champions League. This pursuit will have some big-name casualties but maybe good for some teams looking to pick up a few talented players.
Demiral is a player that would immediately come in and establish himself a top-level centre half and also his physicality, love of defending and his attitude would make him a cult hero amongst the United Faithful. United have been sniffing around him before and make look to act if they feel he is achievable, via Bleacher Report.
Dani Olmo/Calvin Stengs:
Dani Olmo is a young Spanish player playing for Dinamo Zagreb, he moved from Barcelona to Zagreb in one of the most bizarre moves in recent years but one that might pay dividends for him. He has proven himself a top player with his performances for club and country with his Under 21 form earning him rave reviews. This season it has been his performances in Europe that have alerted many top clubs to his potential, his goal against Manchester City proved he has all the tools in his arsenal. A top-class volley showed his ability is beyond question and he is capable of giving any defender a torrid time, top clubs will be after him come January but if United believe they need an alternative to Jaden Sancho then this maybe a player to look at.
Calvin Stengs should be familiar to United fans this season as he has played for AZ Alkmaar against United in the Europa League. In the second game at Old Trafford I was there and was very impressed with the young Dutchman, his ability on the ball and his movement caused United defenders a few problems. He is highly touted in his homeland and it is very easy to see why, a good technical player blessed with pace and trickery who loves to attack and score goals. He will be in Holland’s Euro 2020 squad barring injury and may prove to be a breakout player in the tournament. Currently AZ are neck and neck with Ajax in the League who they beat 1-0 a few days after their trip to Old Trafford but as his stock begins to rise it will court admiring glances from around Europe.
Thiago Silva/Edinson Cavani:
PSG have had a great run over the last few years domestically and are always threatening to break out in Europe, over the last few years Cavani and Silva have been the two constants. Both players contracts are going to run out in the summer, and both would be free to chat to other clubs in January, now most fans will say that they are too old being 35 and 32 respectively.
However, both players offer a wealth of experience and they are still capable of top-class performances. Mauro Icardi has come in and usurped Cavani as the number 9 but Cavani has still has a lot to offer. His record at PSG is 136 goals in 194 games so he is a prolific marksman and may offer United an option as they have struggled to score the scruffy goals which Solskjaer craves from his strikers.
Silva has been an absolute world-class defender and still oozes class, his physicality and ability on the ball make him one of the best of his generation drawing praise from Paolo Maldini and he knows a thing or two about defenders. His experience of playing and winning at the top-level would prove invaluable to a team who don’t have much collective experience. These two would not be long-term signing but would add ability and experience and be players who could be the example to the young players and guide them to success that we all crave.